Michael Frank on Avoiding Revenge Through Memoir
The Author of The Mighty Franks in Conversation with Paul Holdengraber
In this episode, Paul Holdengraber talks to the memoirist Michael Frank about his new book, The Mighty Franks, the lives we could have led, mastering a “line,” revenge, and searching for the truth in our own past.
Michael Frank on mastering the line
When you can master a line, meaning a line of language or dialogue or verse, you really can capture any experience, anything you imagine, anything you have lived. It can go back and forth in time, which is essential if you’re going to write a memoir, novel, or a story.
Michael Frank on revenge
I think revenge and memoir writing is a very tricky area of conversation and of behavior. I think if I had sought revenge with this book, it wouldn’t be the book that it is. I was not writing out of anger. I had to live long enough to be finished with the feelings of resentment and anger, so I could see beyond them.
Michael Frank on telling his story
Having had my own voice so unacknowledged for a long time, all I could do was store up my impressions, store up my research, store up that collection of objects across the table. I think I knew from very early on that I would one day be determined to tell this story.
Michael Frank on eavesdropping
I was 18 years old, I had a very strange childhood, I was not very self-aware. For all that observing and gathering, all that recording and noting that I did, I had no idea what to do with it. I wasn’t free enough. My line was no where near ready to go anywhere. All that eavesdropping, I spent hours listening to the adults. From my very early consciousness of the adult world, I was desperately eager to understand.